Flirting with Fame and Dodging a Predator in 1970s Iran
At the age of thirteen, my trip to a film festival in the Middle East turned terrifying when a man invited himself to my hotel room. I escaped, but I’ve been haunted ever since.
Illustrations by Bianca Diaz
I am sitting at the desk in my hotel room, writing a postcard to my family in Australia. A dark-haired, good-looking man is standing behind me, gently massaging my shoulders. He bends forward, and I can feel his hot breath on my ear as he asks if he can come back to see me in my room tonight. I nod.
“What kind of love you want to make?” he asks as well.
I don’t have an answer. I am in Iran. The year is 1973, and I’m thirteen years old.
“What the hell am I am doing here?” seems, not for the first time in recent days, to be a very good question.
It was just a few weeks ago in Sydney, Australia that I was in class paying little attention to a math lesson. A severe bout of anxiety caused me to miss a good chunk of first term that year — since kindergarten, simply getting to school had intermittently been a traumatic ordeal for me. I looked up to see my social science teacher at the classroom door, asking to see me for a moment. I suspected I was in trouble since th…